Police arrest 19 gang members on racketeering charges in Las Vegas

Metro and other law enforcement agencies held a press conference on Oct. 19, 2017. (Gai Phanalasy/FOX5)

Las Vegas Metro police said 19 gang members were arrested on state-level racketeering charges and one suspect remains on the loose after a five-month investigation.

Metro police led a task force with North Las Vegas police, Henderson police, the Clark County District Attorney's Office, Nevada Parole and Probation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration and Homeland Security Investigations.

The operation began in May, Metro said. By Oct. 12, 21 gang members were arrested.

Gang members from the group operated in the north and northeast part of the Valley.

Metro said the criminal acts committed by members escalated over time. The crimes included homicides, drive-by shootings, batteries with a deadly weapon, and the sexual assault of a teenager.

Search warrants served over the course of the investigation resulted in a number of assault-style rifles and handguns taken off the street. Drugs and money were also recovered by law enforcement officials.

Metro said they believe the community is a safer place after the arrests and it prevented several retaliatory shootings.

Metro said only one suspect connected to the investigation, 18-year-old Julian Barboza, remains on the loose. He was described as a Hispanic male, 6'1" tall, approximately 160 pounds, with the numbers 702 tattooed on his abdomen.

The structure of the gang was severely impacted by the arrests, according to Metro.

Metro said they will be back discussing another operation in a few months, adding this new model to combat gang violence will be used in future cases.

Copyright 2017 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Digital Content Manager